The Cinnamon Challenge is More Dangerous Than You Think

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The Cinnamon Challenge is More Dangerous Than You Think

Doctors are giving advice to teens to not take the cinnamon challenge. The prank started with popular YouTube videos that showed someone trying to swallow a spoonful of ground cinnamon in 60 seconds without drinking any water. The videos show young teens attempting the dare which results in “orange burst of dragon breathe” coming out of their mouths followed by lots of laughter, said Dr. Steven E. Lipshultz, a pediatrics professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Doctors say that this prank has led to hospitalizations and many calls to poison centers.

While trying to gulp down the cinnamon one can start choking, have throat irritation, trouble breathing, or a collapsed lung. The American Association of Poison Control Center shared how people with asthma have an even greater risk in participating in the challenge.

Although cinnamon is natural, that doesn’t mean that it is safe. It is approved under the FDA, but the FDA does not mention spice inhalation. Cinnamon is made from tree bark and has cellulose fibers in it that don’t easily break down. Your body can also not metabolize cellulose, which can cause it to be very painful when using the restroom. When it gets into your lungs it can also cause scarring.

Doctors are urging parents to keep an eye on what their kids are viewing online. Not only are doctors urging teens not to partake in this prank, but now teens themselves are promoting the dangers. A teen who was hospitalized for a collapsed lung after trying the prank, started her own website –, that encourages teens to say “no” to this fad and others that could harm them. Although it may seem funny or harmless at the time, it could cause you serious injuries.

Source: NBC News, “MDs warn teens: Don’t take the cinnamon challenge,” Lindsey Tanner, April 22, 2013.

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